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Millfield suffer second loss in a row as Bryanston just hold on

After a tough midweek loss away at Hartpury, Millfield had only a few days to recover before hitting the road again to take on the in form Bryanston.

Bryanston meanwhile had been rested throughout the week after a stunning 44-15 victory over Colston’s the previous weekend.

There is a truism across all sport that momentum is key, the European Ryder Cup team demonstrated this on Sunday as they gradually turned the scoreboards their way before the momentum shift left the USA stunned.

It was therefore always the toughest of questions that was asked of Millfield after that Hartpury defeat, could they shift that negative momentum and go and beat one of the best Bryanston sides of the last decade?

It was clear throughout that first half that Millfield had had their confidence sapped after that defeat. Allied to that, Bryanston were coming into the game with huge momentum after the demolition of Colston’s. There is nothing like beating the most successful school side in history to get your tails up.

A litany of errors from the away side saw Bryanston dominate the first half, going 13-0 up into the break. It was as uncharacteristic from Millfield to make these errors as it was typical of Bryanston this year to capitalise on them.

It’s funny though, feeling as though one side are out of it can play funny tricks on the minds of both sides. Again this could be seen on Sunday in the Ryder Cup, feeling as if you are out of it can give you the confidence to just go for it.

It was with this attitude that Millfield began the second half, and immediately they began to pressurise the Bryanston defence, attacking with a freedom unseen in the first half.

An unfortunate interception led to Bryanston going 20-0 up, but here was where Millfield demonstrated that they are a side of class. They were almost galvanised by it, here was a further chance for them just to go out and play for the rest of the half.

That freedom of play, allied with their inbuilt determination to win that runs throughout the school, shifted the momentum.

Bryanston by all rights should have been full of confidence, a huge win over Colston’s, 20-0 up against Millfield, people talking them up as a great side, yet here they were with an opportunity to lay down the biggest marker is schoolboy rugby by thumping Millfield, and the momentum had gone.

You see that’s the odd thing about momentum, once it shifts it completely changes everything. It brought Millfield back to 20-7, then 20-12, then finally 20-19. You have to feel that with five more minutes of play they’d have gone on to win the game

Importantly though for Bryanston, they held on. They can look forward to the rest of the season knowing that they have beaten two of the top sides out there and will be looking for yet more scalps in the weeks to come.

Millfield meanwhile have a fixture against Sherborne to look forward to ahead of their own clash with Colston’s. How they fare will depend largely on how they view their defeat at Bryanston.

They must focus on their tremendous second half performance, and simply learn from that first half that while confidence is low, you just have to keep things simple and put the ball into opposition territory. They know that on form they are a match for anyone at all, and judging by their reaction to this defeat, they will be pulling out all of the stops to demonstrate that.

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